Though the tourist season may have its peaks and valleys, the North Carolina mountains are truly a nature-lover’s playground 365 days a year.
Autumn is peak season, with the radiant fall colors attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors.
From driving to scenic Blue Ridge Parkway overlooks and hiking in Pisgah National Forest to camping in state parks and exploring the myriad mountain towns along the way, there are an endless array of things to do at this time of year.
But you could make an argument that winter is the most magical time to visit the mountains of North Carolina. The crowds are smaller, the rates are cheaper, and there’s a decent chance the higher elevations may be dusted with snow.
There are twinkling Christmas lights in all the small towns, Christmas tree farms dotted across the NC High Country, and tons of resorts offering opportunities for snow-skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing.
Snow tubing in the North Carolina mountains is extremely popular, especially with families. Most of the NC snow tubing resorts have snow-making capabilities, so the fun doesn’t have to stop on sunny winter days.
Read on for our in-depth guide to the best snow tubing in NC, with ski resorts and tubing parks listed geographically, and details about the activities and attractions at each one.
Snow Tubing in North Carolina Mountains Guide
- Wolf Ridge Snow Tubing Park (Mars Hill)
- Zip N Slip Snow Tubing Park (Mars Hill)
- Frozen Falls Tube Park, AKA Sapphire Valley Snow Tubing (Sapphire Valley)
- Hawksnest Snow Tubing and Zipline (Seven Devils)
- Sugar Mountain Resort (Sugar Mountain)
- Jonas Ridge Snow Tubing Park (Newland)
- Beech Mountain Resort (Beech Mountain)
- Moonshine Mountain Snow Tubing Park (Hendersonville)
- Black Bear Snow Tubing (Hendersonville)
- Cataloochee Ski Area (Maggie Valley)
- Scaly Mountain Outdoor Center (Scaly Mountain)
Snow Tubing In Asheville NC
The largest of the North Carolina mountain towns (population around 95,000), Asheville NC is an artistic town filled with loads of history.
The city’s thriving cultural heart is the River Arts District. But the entire metropolitan area is filled with delicious restaurants and breweries, and surrounded by excellent hiking trails, waterfalls and unique treehouse rentals.
There are also plenty of snow tubing parks and ski resorts near Asheville for family and friends to enjoy.
Read on for our Asheville snow tubing recommendations, and note that the parks are listed in order of their geographic proximity to Downtown Asheville.
READ MORE: The 30 Best Things to Do in Asheville NC
1. Wolf Ridge Snow Tubing Park
578 Valley View Circle, Mars Hill NC, 28754 • 828-689-4111
Located in in Mars Hill NC, the Wolf Ridge Snow Tubing Park features a 350-foot-long slope that’s 100 feet wide at the bottom and 60 feet wide at the top.
The park also includes a “magic carpet” to carry tubers back to the top, shuttle, and lights for nighttime snow tubing.
Located about 20 minutes from Asheville, the snow tubing park is a part of Wolf Ridge Ski Resort, which offers ski and snowboarding slopes as well as lessons at the resort’s Snow Sports School.
The park makes its own snow, so you never have to worry whether Mother Nature will provide her own fresh powder. There are no designated lanes here, which means that guests can link up their tubes and ride together.
The Wolf Ridge Tubing season lasts from the first week of December through mid-April, with holiday rates ending on February 20. The season’s start and end dates are tentative, as they rely on how much snow the area receives.
Wolf Ridge sits at an elevation of 4,700 feet and offers stunning views of Big Bald Mountain. While at the resort, guests can also explore their four nature trails and two diamond runs, or relax by the fire inside with hot chocolate.
Guests can stay in cabins through Wolf Mountain Realty or one of the many nearby hotels.
While you’re in the area, watch a show at the Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre, take a cooking class at The Farmer’s Hands, hike Big Bald Mountain, or pick up a Xmas tree at Frosty Mountain Christmas Tree Farm.
For current snow conditions, check out the Wolf Ridge Snow Tubing Park’s webcam here.
2. Zip N Slip Snow Tubing Park
10725 US-23, Mars Hill NC, 28754 • 828-689-8444
The Zip N Slip Snow Tubing Park in Mars Hills NC features four tubing lanes, with increased snowmaking capabilities for the 2021 season (which begins December 16 and ends February 27).
It is strongly encouraged that visitors make reservations in advance, as they completely sold out last season. Each snow tubing session may last up to two hours.
In addition to a solarium, fireplace, and magnificent slope views, the park also offers nighttime snow tubing with well-lit slopes.
Note that children must be at least three years old to ride, and 3 to 5-year-olds are given free admission. Zip N Slide also offers student tubing packages, making it the perfect school field trip!
Zip N Slip does not offer on-site lodging, but there are many hotels and cabin rentals nearby.
We recommend Marshall House Inn, Bend of Ivy Lodge, and the Buck House Inn on Bald Mountain. Nearby cabin rentals can also be found through Wolf Mountain Realty.
While in the area, be sure to check out the animals at Farmory’s Safari Edventure, take a hike at the Wild Harmony Hiking Trails Park, and go horseback riding at Sandy Bottom Trail Rides.
3. Frozen Falls Tube Park (a.k.a. Sapphire Valley Snow Tubing)
127 Cherokee Trail, Sapphire Valley NC, 28774 • 828-743-7663
Frozen Falls Tube Park is in Sapphire Valley NC, about 60 miles southwest of Asheville on NC-280 W and US-64 W. This exciting snow tubing park features 500-foot-long runs, with 60-foot drops!
There are no age, weight, or height restrictions at Frozen Falls. But guests need to fill out a release form when purchasing tickets, and will be held responsible for any injuries at the park.
Frozen Falls snow tubing sessions may last up to 1.75 hours.
Guests can choose between on-site lodging or stay in a 4BR Sapphire Valley Resort Cabin w/Mountain Views, a 3BR Charming Home 4 miles from Sapphire Valley, a 5BR Luxury Cabin, or one of the many VRBO options.
While you’re in the area, be sure to check out beautiful Whitewater Falls, explore Gorges State Park, and visit scenic Horsepasture River and Nature Trails.
You can also relax and unwind at Canyon Spa at Lonesome Valley, or pick up a Christmas tree at Tom Sawyer Christmas Tree Farm and Elf Village.
Snow Tubing In Boone NC
Boone NC is one of several scenic small towns in the North Carolina High Country, perhaps best known as home to Appalachian State University.
An array of ski resorts and snow tubing options surround the town, which becomes a winter wonderland around the holidays. Decorations light up King Street, and snow-flecked Boone Christmas tree farms are in abundance.
Read on for our guide to snow tubing parks in and around Boone NC, which are listed in order of geographic proximity.
READ MORE: The 20 Best Things to Do in Boone NC
4. Hawksnest Snow Tubing & Zipline
2058 Skyland Drive, Seven Devils NC, 28604 • 828-963-6561
Located in Seven Devils NC, about 14 miles southwest of Boone, Hawksnest Snow Tubing & Zipline is the largest snow tubing park on the East Coast. It offers 30+ lanes of snow tubing, spanning from 400 to 1,000 feet long.
This park won the title of “TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice,” and has also been ranked #1 among snow tubing parks in NC by TripAdvisor users.
Hawksnest ziplining offers you a once-in-a-lifetime bird’s-eye view of the Western NC mountains. Children must be at least three years old to go snow tubing, and tubing sessions last up to an hour and 45 minutes.
While the exact opening and closing dates at Hawksnest are somewhat dependent on weather, the park typically opens for the season during the week of Thanksgiving.
In addition to snow tubing, the park also offers ziplining and concessions on-site. Food is available in the first-floor café, including hot drinks and light snacks.
There’s no on-site lodging, but there are many cabin rentals nearby. We recommend a 2BR Seven Devils Condo, a 2BR Banner Elk Cabin, or a larger 5BR Banner Elk Home. There are also an abundance of rental options at VRBO.
While you’re in the area, check out the Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster, hike the scenic Otter Falls trail, visit the Sugar Creek Gem Mine, or get some holiday cheer at the Hawk Mountain Christmas Tree Farm.
READ MORE: The 15 Best Things to Do in Banner Elk NC
5. Sugar Mountain Resort
1009 Sugar Mountain Drive, Sugar Mountain NC, 28604 • 828-898-4521
Located about 15 miles southwest of Boone, the Sugar Mountain Resort in Sugar Mountain NC is home to snow tubing lanes that range up to 700 feet in length. Thankfully, there’s a “magic carpet” that transports tubers back up to the top.
Children under age 3 aren’t allowed on the tubing slopes. Children ages 6 and under must ride with an adult, and kids ages 7-8 must be supervised by a parent when riding. Tubing sessions last up to an hour and 45 minutes.
Sugar Mountain Resort’s winter season typically begins in early November and runs through March, depending upon the weather. For 2021 there’s a new 2,000-foot-long Big Birch chairlift, in addition to five new snowmaking machines.
The popular NC ski resort also offers a variety of other activities, such as scenic ski lift rides, ski and snowboarding slopes, ice skating, golf, and snowshoeing.
Visitors will also find shopping, numerous great restaurants, and a spa at the resort.
On-site lodging is not available at Sugar Mountain Resort. We recommend the nearby Chetola Resort Lodge or condos in Blowing Rock NC, or privately owned Sugar Mountain accommodations available on Booking.com or VRBO.
While you’re in the area, be sure to visit Grandfather Mountain State Park (and the Mile High Swinging Bridge at the adjacent paid attraction), ride the Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster, or pick up a tree at Evergreen Christmas Tree Farm.
6. Jonas Ridge Snow Tubing Park
9472 NC-181, Newland NC, 28657 • 828-733-4155
Located 25 miles south of Boone near Linville Falls, Jonas Ridge Snow Tubing Park is a family-friendly place with five snow tubing lanes and a “magic carpet” conveyer belt to the top of the ski slope.
Jonas Ridge offers specially made tubes to intensify the speed of their rides, and use snow guns to force pressurized air and water together to create a natural snow supplement.
This means snow is always accessible at Jonas Ridge in winter, and the park is equipped with plenty of lights for nighttime snow tubing!
The park requires all children ages six and under to be accompanied by an adult, and a maximum of four people may ride together at once.
Until further notice, the indoor lodge is closed to the public due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
There’s no on-site lodging, but there are a variety of cabins and hotels near the park. We recommend the 2BR Newland Cottage, 4BR Newland Escape (with hot tub!), or 5BR Riverfront Home. Additional accommodation options are available from VRBO.
While you’re in the area, visit nearby attractions such as Linville Caverns, Bobby McLean Memorial Park, the hiking trails at Linville Gorge, or wine tastings at Linville Falls Winery.
Note that Jonas Ridge Snow Tubing Park typically opens in mid-December, and the season lasts through March. But this strongly relies on weather conditions. Closure updates can be found on Jonas Ridge’s social media channels.
7. Beech Mountain Resort
1007 Beech Mountain Pkwy, Beech Mountain NC, 28604 • 828-387-2011 https://www.beechmountainresort.com
Towering at an elevation of 5,506 feet, Beech Mountain NC is the highest town east of the Rockies, sporting the tagline “Eastern America’s highest town.”
Located 24 miles west of Boone, Beech Mountain Resort offers tubing lanes ranging up to 700 feet in length. It’s also known for its ski slopes, and offers shopping, restaurants, and even a brewery in the Resort Village.
The early season at Beech Mountain lasts from Nov 20 through Dec 9. The late season begins March 13 and lasts through March 27.
The resort recommends purchasing tickets online prior to your visit. Any extra tickets available will be sold on-site daily at 8 AM, when the resort opens. It should also be noted that refunds are not available.
Beech Mountain has a very strict height policy. For snow tubing, riders must be at least 42 inches tall, and children are not allowed to ride on their parent’s lap. Tubes are also limited to one person on each.
There are a number of cabins and hotels near the resort. We recommend the Little Main Street Inn, Beech Alpen Inn, and 4 Seasons at Beech Mountain. Nearby vacation home and cabin rentals are available through VRBO.
While you’re in the area, take some time to hike the trails in scenic Emerald Outback, meet the alpacas and other animals of Apple Hill Farm, or get into the holiday spirit at Twin Oakes Christmas Tree Farm.
Snow Tubing In Hendersonville NC
Though located at a considerably lower elevation (2,152 feet) than the towns of the NC High Country, the area is home to several fun-filled snow tubing parks for everyone to enjoy.
Read on for our guide to snow tubing in and around Hendersonville, and note that the parks are listed in order of geographical proximity to the town.
8. Moonshine Mountain Snow Tubing Park
5865 Willow Ridge Road, Hendersonville NC, 28739 • 828-696-0333
Located about 6 miles from Downtown Hendersonville, the Moonshine Mountain Snow Tubing Park features 500 feet of tubing slopes. And since the park makes its own snow, there’s always an abundance of powder to ride on.
All snow tubers must be at least 36 inches tall and weigh no more than 300 pounds.
Moonshine Mountain’s tube lift has a 250-pound weight limit, but guests who exceed this weight have the option of walking to the top of the slopes instead.
In addition to snow tubing, the park also features snacks from the Haus Heidelberg Food Truck, as well as hot chocolate by the fire inside the lodge. Guests will also find a gift shop to browse inside the lodge.
There are lots of lodging options near the park. We recommend staying at Echo Mountain Inn, The Lodge at Flat Rock, or Highland Lake Inn & Resort. Vacation home rentals and cabin rentals in the area are available from VRBO.
Popular attractions in the area include the Elijah Mountain Gem Mine, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Carl Sandburg’s home, hiking in DuPont State Recreational Forest, and shopping for fresh produce from numerous local apple orchards.
9. Black Bear Snow Tubing
373 Kerr Road, Hendersonville NC, 28792 • 828-685-1155
Located 13 miles northeast of Downtown Hendersonville, the family-owned Black Bear Snow Tubing park features a snow tubing slope over 500 feet in length.
The Black Bear park makes its own fresh snow, and offers tube-tugging equipment that allows guests to ride to the top of the slope.
During hotter weeks in winter, the park offers tubing on its summer slope. Because the park is located at a lower altitude, slope conditions here rely greatly on Hendersonville weather.
The park is typically open from October through early March, but will be closed until Dec 18 this year.
Children must be 4 years old and weigh at least 35 pounds to ride, and 4 to 6-year-olds must be accompanied by an adult. Group tubing is not allowed, and the maximum weight limit is 300 pounds.
Black Bear Snow Tubing park features a heated lodge where guests can relax with hot drinks, hot dogs, and other concessions. There’s also an on-site playground for kids.
If you want to stay nearby, we recommend the Broad River Inn, a 3BR Hendersonville cabin with hot tub, or a 3BR Charming Hendersonville Cottage. Vacation homes and cabin rentals are also available through VRBO.
While you’re in the area, take time to explore the historic town of Hendersonville, get breathtaking views at Jump Off Rock, or see a play at the Flat Rock Playhouse. If you have kids, take them to the Hands On Museum for a day of fun!
Snow Tubing In Maggie Valley NC
With the tagline “nestled in nature’s glory,” Maggie Valley is a scenic small town located approximately 18 miles east of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
With a variety of colorful North Carolina wildflowers and many black bears, Maggie Valley is a nature lover’s dream destination.
While you’re in the area, be on the lookout for Cataloochee Valley Elk! Many elk from the famous national park herd have begun migrating into Maggie Valley, and they can often be seen throughout the town at dawn and dusk.
READ MORE: The 10 Best Things to Do in Maggie Valley NC
10. Cataloochee Ski Area
4721 Soco Road, Maggie Valley NC, 28751 • 828-926-0285
Located less than 5 miles from Maggie Valley (and a close drive from Waynesville), the Cataloochee Ski Area’s Tube World features specially crafted tubes, a “magic carpet” lift, and a snow-covered run.
The park uses two snowmaking guns that can create snow at up to 80 gallons per minute, and over a distance of up to 50 yards. Tubing sessions at the Cataloochee Ski Area last up to an hour and 45 minutes.
There is no on-site lodging at the Cataloochee Ski Area, but they do have lodging partners nearby.
We recommend staying at Cozy Creek Cottages, The Five Star Inn, a 3BR Luxury Log Cabin, or a 3BR Maggie Valley Retreat with hot tub. If you want to rent a cozy cabin or a larger vacation home in the area, check out VRBO.
And since Maggie Valley is only 30 minutes from the eastern entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, make some time to explore America’s most visited national park!
11. Scaly Mountain Outdoor Center
7420 Dillard Road, Scaly Mountain NC, 28775 • 828-526-3737
Located 67 miles south of Maggie Valley near the North Georgia border, the Scaly Mountain Outdoor Center features a “magic carpet” lift to the top of the slopes as well as a Kiddie Slope, which is $15 for two hours.
Scaly Mountain’s winter tubing season begins on Oct 30 and lasts through March. The park also reopens in May for summer tubing.
Guests must be at least 42 inches tall and at least four years old to go snow tubing at Scaly Mountain. However, the Outdoor Center also offers ice skating, gem mining, and trout fishing.
You can also shop at the Bartram Market, or grab a bite to eat at Annie’s Café.
While you’re in the area, be sure to explore Highlands Aerial Park, visit Highlands-area waterfalls like Dry Falls and Glen Falls, or check out Black Rock Mountain State Park just across the state line in Clayton GA.
On-site lodging is not available, but there are plenty of options nearby.
We recommend the treehouse setting of the 2BR Sky Valley Casa Dolce Vita, the 4BR Wine Down vacation home, or the 4 bedroom Spacious Pet-Friendly Cabin in Dillard GA. Additional cabin rentals and vacation home rentals are available in the area through VRBO. –by Maggie Watts